Alfie Evans’ parents are headed back to court after Alfie defied his court-ordered death and breathed on his own for 17 hours without life-support.
Doctors at Alder Hey Hospital removed Alfie from assisted breathing at 9:17 p.m. local time after U.K. judges approved plans to end his life support treatment despite the fact that hospital staff missed the initial court ordered time, 12 p.m., for ending his treatment, according to The Sun.
Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, said that it was apparent within minutes of being removed from assisted breathing that Alfie was breathing on his own, leaving doctors “gobsmacked.” Alfie continued to breathe throughout the night, for 17 hours, and is still alive despite being temporarily denied water, food, and oxygen assistance. Doctors expected him to last only minutes after being taken off life support. (RELATED: Judge Strikes Down Appeal For Alfie Evans’ Life)
Tom and Kate, represented by attorney Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal Centre, will appear in the U.K. High Court at 3:30 p.m. local time for another hearing concerning Alfie’s fate. They are expected to push for Alfie to be allowed to receive treatment and further diagnosis at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital, which has offered to treat him. Italy’s foreign ministry announced Monday that Alfie had been granted Italian citizenship in the hopes that it would allow him to come to the hospital in Rome.
Tom said on social media that doctors refused to give Alfie food, water, and oxygen for six hours. Kate James, Alfie’s mother, later updated the Alfie’s Army Official page on Facebook saying that doctors decided to allow Alfie to receive water and oxygen assistance.
“Alfie has been allowed oxygen and water!! How amazing is he,” Kate’s post read. “No matter what happens he has already proved these doctors wrong. How beautiful does he look.”
President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani shared a video to Facebook on Tuesday in support of Alfie after learning of his fight to survive and his seemingly miraculous unassisted breathing. He advocated for Alfie to be allowed to travel to Italy for treatment.
“The strength of love is defeating the cynicism of whoever pulled the plug. All my support for Alfie and his extraordinary parents,” Tajani wrote in the video’s post.
The hospital, as per normal policy, has refused to give public updates about Alfie’s condition or his treatment. Alfie’s miraculous feat comes on the heals of both the U.K. Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights denials of his parents’ appeals to have him receive continued treatment. A crowd of more than 200 supporters tried to storm Alder Hey hospital on Monday, and Alfie’s family confronted police officers within the hospital after the U.K. courts affirmed plans to remove Alfie from life support and administer a sedative cocktail to him at 12 p.m.
Hospital staff missed that deadline for reasons not yet made public, and Tom and Kate’s attorney successfully petitioned for a temporary hold on the plans to end Alfie’s life since the hospital had breached the court-approved procedure.
Alfie suffers from an undiagnosed neurological degenerative condition which hospital staff say has reduced him to a “semi-vegetative state” and eaten away at his brain matter. Both hospital staff and U.K. judges said that, in their estimation, there was no hope for recovery for Alfie or that he might be able to live without life support and that it was in his best interest to allow him to die. Treating him, the U.K. High Court said, was futile.
“Alfie looks like a normal baby, but the unanimous opinion of the doctors who have examined him and the scans of his brain is that almost all of his brain has been destroyed. No one knows why. But that it has happened and is continuing to happen cannot be denied. It means that Alfie cannot breathe, or eat, or drink without sophisticated medical treatment,” U.K. Supreme Court justices said on Friday, according to BBC.
“It also means that there is no hope of his ever getting better.”
Alfie’s feat of breathing for 17 hours without said sophisticated medical treatment may bring that prognosis into question. The U.K. High Court will decide his fate on Tuesday afternoon.
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